If you’re a Baby Boomer or a loved one is, it’s best to know and understand the truth about Medicare myths before facing them head on.
As of 2013, we’ll have an estimated 73 million Baby Boomers in America alone…and many are starting to get their first tastes of Medicare myths. Some have already joined Medicare, the government’s medical insurance program for the elderly, swelling its ranks to almost 50 million.
Baby Boomers include everyone born from 1946 to 1964, so almost 25% of the population (!) is aged between 49 and 67. As you can see, the number of people on Medicare will more than double in the next 15 years, so it’s important to understand Medicare’s reality.
Today, let’s bust a few of its most prominent myths.
Myth 1: Medicare is running out of money!
This myth rests mostly on two claims: 1) Medicare costs are racing out of control; and 2) People are living so long nowadays that they’re draining the fund dry. Let’s take ’em in order.
First of all, it’s true that medical care is horrendously expensive these days; in fact, healthcare costs have been rising about three times faster than everything else. But Medicare costs are growing more slowly than those of private insurance plans, even as Medicare’s care level improves.
Private care costs grow by about 5 percent per capita, while Medicare’s growing about 3 percent annually. And as for longevity sinking Medicare, not gonna happen. People are living longer, yes, but Medicare doesn’t cover nursing home expenses, the biggest factor in longevity costs.
Myth 2: Most doctors won’t take Medicare for new patients anymore.
The assumption here is that primary care physicians have become sick and tired of all the recent cuts and rule changes that have affected Medicare, so they’re abandoning it in droves.
Hardly. According to a recent Congressional study, fewer than 2% of beneficiaries have experienced any trouble with doctors accepting their Medicare claims.
Myth 3: Medicare is so screwy because it’s government-provided.
Avoiding the entire argument about Medicare’s condition, the healthcare is not, in fact, directly provided by the government. The government just administers and funds it, which some claim is bad enough.
The care is actually provided by private hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, and various healthcare networks–and you’ll find that there are actually several non-governmental organizations, which will compete to provide your Medicare business. It’s actually rather confusing…so yeah, typical of the government.
The Bottom Line
This article barely scratches the surface of the myth-structure surrounding Medicare; there’s plenty more to learn, and that doesn’t count all the claims the candidates were slinging during the 2012 presidential election.
If you see the Medicare iceberg looming on your horizon, we recommend you do some research online before you get there, so you won’t fall for the many Medicare myths and pull a Titanic.